German Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron held a joint phone call with Russian President Putin and discussed recent developments in Idlib, a spokesman for the German government said in a statement.

French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet during the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 8, 2017.
French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet during the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 8, 2017. (Reuters)

German and French leaders called for an immediate end to attacks in Idlib, northwestern Syria, in a phone call with the Russian president, a government spokesman said on Thursday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, following their meeting in Brussels, held a joint phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed recent developments in Idlib, Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for the German government, said in a statement.

“They called for an immediate end to combat operations and an unhindered humanitarian access,” Seibert said, adding that the civilians in Idlib were facing a catastrophic humanitarian situation.

“They also expressed their readiness to meet with President Putin and Turkish President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan to find a political situation to the crisis,” he said.

Syria has been mired in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Syrian regime cracked down on protests.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN figures.

Attacks in Idlib

Idlib falls within a de-confliction zone laid out in a deal between Turkey and Russia in late 2018. The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the ceasefire, launching frequent attacks inside the territory where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Idlib is currently home to about four million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-torn country.

About a million Idlib refugees have moved towards the nearby Turkish border in recent months, fleeing attacks by the Assad regime and its allies, and producing a desperate humanitarian situation.

Turkey has called for an immediate halt to the attacks on Idlib, and for the ceasefire to be followed, warning that if the attacks do not stop Turkey will act.

Source: AA